How has the Iraq War affected the safety and security of Iraqis?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated in its Apr. 11, 2007 report "Civilians Without Protection: The Ever-Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq":

"The conflict in Iraq is inflicting immense suffering on the entire population. Civilians bear the brunt of the relentless violence and the extremely poor security conditions that are disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions. Every day, dozens of people are killed and many more wounded. The plight of Iraqi civilians is a daily reminder of the fact that there has long been a failure to respect their lives and dignity.

Shootings, bombings, abductions, murders, military operations and other forms of violence are forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere in Iraq or in neighbouring countries."

Apr. 11, 2007 - Civilians Without Protection: The Ever-Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq (959 KB)  
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated in its Sep. 11, 2006 report "Stabilizing Iraq: An Assessment of the Security Situation":

"Since June 2003, the overall security conditions in Iraq have deteriorated and grown more complex, as evidenced by increased numbers of attacks and, more recently, the growing Sunni/Shi’a sectarian strife, which has grown since the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Enemy-initiated attacks generally have increased around major religious or political events, including Ramadan and elections. Attack levels also follow a seasonal pattern, increasing through the spring and summer and decreasing in the winter months.

According to MNF-I [Multinational Force in Iraq] data, attack levels in July 2006 were the highest to date. Despite coalition efforts and the efforts of the newly formed Iraqi government, insurgents continue to demonstrate the ability to recruit new fighters, supply themselves, and attack coalition and Iraqi security forces...Moreover, the Sunni insurgency and Shi’a militias have contributed to an increase in sectarian strife that has resulted in large numbers of Iraqi civilian deaths and displaced individuals."

Sep. 11, 2006 - Stabilizing Iraq: An Assessment of the Security Situation (504 KB)  
Government Accountability Office (GAO) 

Johns Hopkins University and Al Mustansiriya University stated in their Oct. 2006 study titled "The Human Cost of War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006":

"The deaths recorded for the pre-invasion period in both the 2004 and the 2006 surveys were almost entirely non-violent deaths. (We define non-violent deaths as not due to intentional violence—that is, our non-violent deaths include deaths in 'accidents,' such a traffic fatalities.) Immediately post-invasion, the death rate due to non-violent causes dropped slightly, then stayed level for the next period, but began to rise in the period from June 2005 until June 2006. The excess death rate due to non-violent causes is estimated to be 1.2 deaths/1,000/year for this most recent period of time, and 2.0 deaths/1,000/year for the first six months of 2006. It is not possible to say that this number is a statistically significant increase over the pre-invasion baseline death rate. However, this may represent the beginning of a trend toward increasing deaths from deterioration in the health services and stagnation in efforts to improve environmental health in Iraq."

10/06 Johns Hopkins University 
Al Mustansiriya University 

The Human Cost of War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006   603 KB

[Note: The percentages in the 2nd and 4th pie charts each add up to 101%. We have presented the data exactly as they appear in the study, despite the mathematical discrepancy.]

Kirk Semple, Foreign Correspondent for the New York Times, stated in a May 7, 2006 article titled "Kidnapped in Iraq: Victim's Tale of Clockwork Death and Ransom":

"Kidnapping has flourished here since the fall of Saddam Hussein, as insurgents, militias and criminal gangs have taken advantage of the breakdown in social order. Iraq has caught up with the traditional world leaders in kidnapping -- like Colombia, Mexico and Brazil -- and may have surpassed them. The vast majority of victims are Iraqis. Between 5 and 30 are abducted every day, according to figures maintained by the American Embassy in Baghdad, though Iraqi and American officials acknowledge that any estimate is merely guesswork, since most kidnappings go unreported."

May 7, 2006 - Kirk Semple 

Wamid Omar Nadhmi, PhD, Political Science Professor at Baghdad University, commented in a Mar. 20, 2006 live online dialogue on

Q: "Some observers notice a phenomenon of massive exodus of Iraqis; many Iraqis, especially Sunnis, are leaving -mainly to Jordan in addition to other countries. How do you comment on this, and how can this affect Iraq's future and Iraq's demographics?"

Nadhmi: "The exodus of Iraqi civilians is true because of the the utter absence of security. A lot of qualified people are leaving the country to Jordan, Syria, and whatever country. I am not sure if the Sunnis have the upper line in this exodus; a lot of Shiites and Kurds are also leaving the country, which tells you a lot about the lack of security and services (electricity, water, fuel, unemployment, etc.)."

Mar. 20, 2006 - Wamid Omar Nadhmi, PhD